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Leaders cautioned: Say NO to religious hatred

18th February 2013
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Former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi

Former  President Ali Hassan Mwinyi has cautioned religious leaders to refrain from engaging in acts or exchanges which may instigate chaos in the country.

“Our country faces a critical test, as some issues which can be solved peacefully are being turned into top agenda to foment chaos,” said Mwinyi.

The former leader was speaking yesterday in Dar es Salaam in a tribute to Prophet Mohammed’s birth.

According to Mwinyi, religious chaos threatens peace and tranquility that the country has historically enjoyed. He called on religious leaders to join in the effort to find solutions to religious differences.

Mwinyi urged religious leaders to preach peace to their followers and emphasise respect for other people’s faiths, adding that it is unacceptable for any religious leader to put pressure on followers engage in chaos.

Mwinyi described ‘patience as virtue’ calling on people to find better ways of solving problems among them.

Meanwhile Freeman Mbowe, the national Chadema chairman yesterday warned party members and leaders to avoid making statements which promoted religious hatred, saying anyone doing so will be expelled from the party.

Mbowe made the statement in Arusha when opening a meeting of party leaders from 33 provinces in the northern zone regions of Manyara, Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Tanga.

He urged Chadema members to respect other people’s religions; “Don’t dare to hate somebody because of his/her religion,” Mbowe counseled them, condemning killings of religious leaders in the country.

“We want the government to act to track the source and killers…we are depressed with what is happening in the country right now, this is not the Tanzania we want,” he said, accusing the incumbent party — CCM for condoning religious hatred in the country.

He said Tanzania is a secular state, so there is no right for a Christian to accuse a Muslim and a Muslim has no right to accuse a Christian.

“As Chadema, we have decided that we will take serious action against members or leaders propagating seeds of religious hatred. We are very serious on this…” Mbowe told the party leaders.

He however pointed fingers at CCM who he accused of using religion as a tool to remain in power.

“But the way things are, our peace and unity is threatened. It is high time CCM and its government took responsibility,” he said.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN